PC: http://nagisabiyori.com/noankugenumaIt's starting to feel like summer these days as the temperature hit the mid-20s (I'm referring to Celsius,...Read more
Japan's Quintessential Summer Treat: Kakigori Shave Ice
You know, when I was a kid growing up in Japan, there were several distinctive sounds of summer--the buzzing of semi, or cicadas, the pop pop pop of hanabi, or fireworks, and the boom boom boom of taiko drums at festivals--but perhaps my favorite signal that summer had arrived was the guru guru guru guru of ice being shaved. And I'm not alone in that sentiment. There is documentation suggesting the existence of kakigori shave ice desserts since the 1860s in port towns like Yokohama and Hakodate. Just look at the sketch below of a kakigori vendor in Hakodate in 1883.
While soft cream, ice milk, and other cold treats have their place among Japanese summer desserts, kakigori's spiritual home is here in Japan, and nobody does it better. Holding the title of Japan's quintessential summer treat for 150 years has given people a lot of time to tinker with kakigori, coming up with all sorts of innovative ways to enjoy it. In this article, I'll walk you through the basics, some of the most unique options out there, and ways you can enjoy kakigori during your summer journeys in Japan.
Character-inspired Kakigori: some cafes choose to turn their Kakigori into 3D canvases for artistic expression. While some are beautiful and resemble the seasons like the hydrangea Ice above, others embrace the pop culture side of art with character-inspired options. Here is the Kuma-chan ice at Japanese Ice Ouca.
So what are some different ways to enjoy kakigori?
Buy a souvenir to make it at home:
Cool off with Kakigori at Festivals:
Restaurants and cafes:
So there you have it...
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